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TLDR? Whether you’re here for a weekend, a week, or a month in Medellin you should try to fit in some cooking classes.
Cooking classes are a unique entrance to a culture!
And, when you’re exploring a new city, taking in as much culture as you can is probably at the top of your to-do list.
Not a fan of cooking? Let me try to convince you to give it a shot.
Keep reading to learn a little bit more about why you should take a cooking class in Medellin.
The hosts generally are local experts and are very open to answering any and all questions. Often, a cooking class starts by making a drink from the local culture and learning about ingredients.
In Medellin, this generally involves a tropical fruit tasting. A cooking class is the ideal rainy day activity (especially if you’ve already checked out the art museums).
There’s not much better than getting cozy inside while cooking and eating delicious food!
Food is one of the key elements of any culture. The best way to learn about local food is through a cooking class! Your teachers will give you the walkthrough of what’s what and where to find it. Even classics like empanadas look different by region.
For example in Argentina empanadas are large, made with all-purpose flour, and generally baked. In Colombia, on the other hand, empanadas are often tiny, made of cornflour, and fried!
I looked through the cooking class options in Medellin and selected the two with the best reviews to try! Let me walk you through what’s best for you.
This class is run at a couple of different times of the day. I selected the evening class and arrived at the house of Anna Maria and her partner just before dark.
The house is situated on the 2nd floor of a quiet residential street in Laureles close to the main bar street (70th). Inside of their home, they’ve built a learning station including a stand-alone island with cutting boards as well as a lovely helpful sign with all of the names of the fruit!
The primary host, Anna Maria, was born and raised in Medellin and her partner is from Bogota.
The first thing I noticed was the ambiance. The space was super cozy and very local feeling. It was very easy to meet the other guests. In my cooking class, there was a lovely couple and another solo traveler.
My favorite part about the class is how much we all made! Normally a cooking class has you make one serving size. But, I made enough Empanadas to take home as the dinner of me and my boyfriend – and that’s after I ate the best ones!
During the learning process, they offered us tips, answered questions, and generally kept up a great conversation! Afterward, we all sat down and feasted on the food we had made with a nice cold beer.
We started by preparing a Lulo Mojito (the perfect way to get everyone relaxed!) Lulo is, in flavor, very similar to passion fruit but local to Colombia.
After the mojito was finished, we began a tropical fruit tasting.
Anna Maria and her partner walked us through all of the local fruits! They showed us how to cut and (more importantly) how to eat them.
They also helped by sharing with us what they should each cost in the market and their respective uses. This was my third time in Colombia but I learned about 3 new fruits I had never seen before!
One is the tree tomato. The tree tomato looks similar to a regular tomato but it’s fruity and used for juice. It’s a staple of Medellin to have jugo de tomate de árbol. Give it a try!
After the fruit tasting, we moved on to the good stuff: a cheese arepa! We made the dough from scratch and Anna Maria shared how to make them and a little information on the different types of Arepas in Colombia. Medellin most commonly has the larger (rather bland) Arepa.
The coast is better known for the cheese Arepa (which was way too delicious). We cooked the Arepas in the oven using banana leaves to bundle them. While those were being cooked, we moved on to Patacones and Empanadas.
This was one of the most enjoyable cooking classes I have ever taken and cannot recommend highly enough. But don’t just take my word for it…
“Amazing experience We were a group of 4 and really enjoyed the cooking class! It wasn’t only about the food, but also connecting with the hosts and the other guests. Very warm and welcoming atmosphere which made it hard to leave. If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining class, we recommend Ana-Maria 🙂 “–jasminkettel
“Fantastic experience! Probably the best of the many cooking classes I’ve taken and the fruit tasting was a surprisingly useful guide for future supermarket purchases. If you do one cooking class in Medellin this is the one you should do :)“– Ian
Whereas the Street Food Cooking Class was easy to fit in after work on a weekday, the Social Project Cooking Class currently only has options available on weekends. That’s something to keep in mind if you are on a restricted schedule!
I selected this course for two reasons:
This cooking class is a professional cooking experience. The host, Brian, is from Canada… he is very well-traveled and has lived in Medellin for many years! He’s also a professionally trained Chef.
If you’re looking for a cooking class more focused on general cooking and less on a local/cultural experience, this might be for you.
We started off with a tour of the building and rooftop garden. The first 1.5 hours were spent explaining the work his social project normally does (covid affected their mission a bit).
In the garden, we picked some herbs to use in our salad and then had a fruit tasting on the roof! This time around, I knew exactly what a tree tomato was! No surprises.
Afterward, we went to the kitchen to begin the good part. Brian explained we would be making a variety of dishes for lunch, inspired from around the world.
We were in a professional kitchen and learning a variety of techniques to chop better and cook food more efficiently! Although not a “Colombian” experience, we did drastically improve our general cooking skills and we enjoyed spending a Saturday cooking together.
Due to a last-minute cancellation, I ended up as the only person registered for the experience and had to drag along my boyfriend so we could still have the class.
We learned how to cook Ropa Vieja (cuban-inspired meat) with an Asian-inspired salad and coconut rice. We paired all that with an Indian-inspired turmeric dessert!
The food turned out delicious and we learned a lot about cooking (like how to make fresh coconut milk!)
Want to see what people are saying? Here are a couple of stellar reviews to get you inspired.
“All I can say is WOW. What Brian does for the community and in his house/commercial kitchen is mind boggling. He has good knowledge of the community and his business, which is important when orchestrating such a professional experience. The experience is well-curated to Foodies and Amateur chefs like myself, who want to dip their toes into other cuisines.”-Anthony
“What a fantastic space Brain has created. His dream and passion make this class (and the food/recipes, of course) make this something I would 100% recommend. I learned some new cutting techniques and how to make coconut oil from scratch- knowledge I can apply in the future.”– Carrie
Overall I would recommend the Street Food Cooking Class for an authentically Colombian cultural experience. But, the Social Project Cooking Class is a great choice if you are interested more in general cooking skills!
Either way taking a cooking class is a must during your time in Medellin. Your stomach will thank you!
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